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Singapore-S Korea centre to boost cooperation in biomedical research

The KHIDI-A*STAR Medtech Development Centre, which officially opens on June 16, will promote the co-development of medical technologies and pharmaceuticals between Singapore and South Korea.

SINGAPORE: The KHIDI-A*STAR Medtech Development Centre, a joint collaboration between Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Korean Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), was officially opened on Monday (June 16).

A key cornerstone of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two national agencies in December 2013, the centre will promote the co-development of medical technologies and pharmaceuticals between Singapore and South Korea, A*STAR said in a statement issued on Monday.

The centre will facilitate South Korean biomedical companies seeking to conduct biomedical technology innovation, first-in-human trials, registration and commercialisation of products in Singapore. Seven Korean small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have expressed interest in co-developing products with Singapore partners in the research and healthcare space, it said.

The companies and their local partners will also be able to tap on a US$5 million (S$6.3 million) research fund, set up as part of the MOU to help finance joint projects between South Korean and Singapore entities to register and manufacture products here, as well as market them to the region from here.

Successful recipients of the fund will base part of their operations in Singapore, which will create high-value jobs, according to A*STAR.

Student exchange programmes will also be arranged under the MoU. For example, the first group of Korean exchange students, comprising 20 post-graduates and staff from South Korea’s Dongguk University, visited last January to take part in the Singapore-Stanford Biodesign programme co-organised by A*STAR, the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Stanford University. Singaporean students are expected to learn about South Korea’s medical technology ecosystem when they embark on a study trip to Seoul next year.

“Singapore and the Republic of Korea share complementary strategies in the biomedical space. Korean companies want to regionalise and internationalise their operations through Singapore while Singapore wants to attract more biomedical companies to build a critical mass of such companies here,” Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of A*STAR, said.

“The opening of the Biomedical Sciences Development Centre will bring about a more institutionalised approach to fostering collaborations between the Korean biomedical companies and research partners in Singapore."

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